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Page 13 – The shot across the bow of your Navy Career

 In Blog, Board of Inquiry, Investigations, Investigations, Separation Board

As all Navy personnel understand, the Navy Page 13 is a standard form used to communicate to Navy personnel information, from the mundane, instructive, to the serious. It’s used to ensure Navy personnel understand and acknowledge instructions. When used as a warning, a Navy Page 13 is a signal to be taken seriously. It’s the first step leaders take in documenting potentially career-ending misconduct. Consulting a Show Cause Board lawyer early could be instructive on what could happen next.

Page 13 for suspected misconduct

If an NCO or an officer receives a Page 13 for suspected misconduct, they should know that Commanders will aggressively investigate any incidents associated with suspected misconduct. Congress has communicated zero tolerance for leader misconduct in the military and commanders are listening. A Page 13 may just be the first step in a commander’s efforts to document reasons to separate a Sailor and avoid the appearance of lax discipline in the ranks.

Am I being investigated for misconduct?

When a commander or supervisor suspects an NCO or officer of misconduct, their suspicion may trigger a commander’s inquiry and potentially a command or military law enforcement (MLE) investigation. According to PERS‐834 Officer Performance ‐ The Basics, once an investigation is started, the Navy directs the command to flag the individual under the investigation is complete. It’s at this stage that the accused should consider protecting their own interests by retaining counsel. Assisting individuals by protecting their interests during the investigation can mitigate the danger the investigation poses. Counseling the accused prior to making statements in their own defense to investigators is critical. Without this counsel, many service members unwittingly help the command to make their case when they use the accused own words against them. Experienced counsel can also help the accused avoid perceptions of obstructing justice by helping them navigate communication with all involved including potential witnesses.

Navy Show Cause Board

If the command or MLE investigation finds credible evidence of misconduct, a Navy Show Cause board may follow. Service members with six or more years of service are entitled to defend against the allegations cited in a Page 13 and investigation findings at a separation board. The exception to this six-year rule are officers who, with prior enlisted service, have more than six total years, but less than six years of active commissioned service. These officers are known as probationary officers. Warrant officers end their probationary status after three years of active commissioned service. The only exception to this eligibility for a show cause board is if the command is seeking a discharge characterization of Other Than Honorable (OTH). This characterization is only sought at a Navy Show Cause board for more serious misconduct such as drugs, child pornography, sexual assault, etc.

Exceptional defense from a Show Cause Board Lawyer

Once a Navy Show Cause board is initiated, it takes one-to-three months for the process to roll out from notification of the board to execution of the board. At this point, things must move very fast for the NCO or Officer. Counsel can assist the accused in gathering character witnesses and evidence contrary to the misconduct charges. For this phase its necessary to have an exceptional attorney with experience in the board process and an understanding of the military culture. The accused should retain an exceptional show cause board lawyer as soon as possible. The show cause board lawyer for defense can call character witnesses, investigation witnesses and undermine the credibility of the investigation and its findings. Experience is critical to executing an aggressive defense to the board members on behalf of the client.

When an NCO or an officer receives a page 13, they need to consider whether it will have a negative effect on their retention. They also need to consider whether it’s a broader effort to investigate them for misconduct.

If you are under investigation, call today to speak with Mr. Kageleiry about your case.

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